Sunday, December 7, 2008

What a tangled web spiders weave when you get them high!

I'm not sure how old this article is, but I suspect that it dates back to the late sixties or mid-seventies.

 NASA experiments have always intrigued me, and the fact that they were busy giving different kinds of dope to spiders really makes this one a classic.

The caption suggested that getting spiders high would lead to some toxicity-testing technique.

That's just one reason I suspect this is an old article. Nowadays you can go to any pharmacy and buy a bottle of stuff that will tell you if you got marijuana, or practically anything else, in your system.

 The new "pee and see" system just might owe these early experiments with drugged spiders a debt!

The premise was certainly simple. Get a spider high on numerous substances, and see what each one makes him do to his web! See diagrams to the right.

What's not clear is why they used spiders, instead of mammals.As far as I know we're not too close on the evolutionary chain to spiders/insects, although I have met some people who think like insects (specialization is their forte).

Among the earthshaking data that came out of this undoubtedly million dollar research project, is that the more toxic a substance, the more the spider screws things up and loses the normally beautiful symmetry his web displays.

I have to admit that I'm somewhat skeptical as to the value of this NASA research project, but what do I know? I'm no rocket scientist! 

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